Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A reformed shopper

First, I just have to say that it's been five months since I've bought myself any clothes or shoes. That's absolutely huge for me. :-) Progress, baby!

I used to be a social shopper - I shopped with friends, I shopped for my own entertainment, I shopped as retail therapy when I'd had a bad day or wanted to celebrate a happy occasion. Basically, I loved to shop & constantly filled my closet.

In 2012, I spent $1655 on clothes. About 1/2 of that was on running stuff - shoes, gear, etc. My budget for 2013 is $300, which will *hopefully* cover my running shoes, but it will be tight for sure.

So, how have I reformed my former shopper ways?

Some of these are pretty basic, but here goes:

  1. I stopped shopping for "sport". I enter the mall only when I really need something (usually a gift, or something for the kids).
  2. I started selling my extras/unwanted items on eBay. Honestly, this has been the biggest one. Knowing that my dress that I wore once & no longer like is now worth $2 is a pretty good reality check. I'm at just over $1,000 in net eBay profits, & 90% of everything I'm selling is from my closet. And, I'm still well dressed & shod. . . so, that tells me I had an embarrassing amount of stuff before, & quite frankly, I'm ashamed that I was so wasteful with our money. I would much, much, MUCH prefer a family trip to Hawaii over a bunch of inexpensive tops that I'll wear a few times before they get a hole.
  3. I forced myself to really inventory what I had. I cleaned my closet (I'm actually on the third round of this), and put everything that I rarely wear into a pile. If it was worth selling, it went into the eBay pile. If not, it either went into the donation pile, or to give to my sister if I thought she might like it. My closet, while not completely done, mostly contains only things that I regularly wear and use, & I love it! I'm thoroughly enjoying the lack of clutter, & the ease of picking out my clothes for the day.
  4. I changed my priorities. Really, it's pretty much that. I decided that I'd rather have a few quality pieces that update my look (and, I still spend enough to get quality running gear), but the rest of the money? I'd rather spend it on travel, dates with M, & entering races. And, by regularly tracking and quantifying how much I was spending on shopping, it forced me to realize where my priorities were before, & where I want them to be.
Like, here:

We're saving up for another one of those fabulous family Hawaii vacations. :-)

How about you? Are you a reformed shopper? What changed your ways?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

All about me

Many thanks to B-Kat for the Liebster nomination. :-)

1. Do you talk to family and friends freely about money like you may do on your blog? - We talk about expense-type things, but rarely about income or investments.

2. When is the last time you went out for a nice meal? (And enjoyed it) - We went to dinner to celebate my half marathon, & it was our first date night in months. I did enjoy it, but it was a rich dinner, & we don't typically eat like that. Fine for an occasional treat.

3. You are given $500, where does it go? - Right now I would put it towards new running shoes for me & M.

4. A job you hate for 6 figures or a job you love for minimum wage? - I've had a job I hate for 6 figures, & I've worked here for 15 years. I haven't hated it in the entire time (& I certainly didn't start out making 6 figures), & I currently enjoy my job quite a bit. That said, during the times I have hated it, it's super hard to give up the money. I really enjoy other aspects of my life, but like the financial security and make those other enjoyable things hobbies rather than my career.

5. Green thumb or brown thumb? - Brown thumb!

6. What would be a "do over and do different" in your life? - I was really, really tentative and insecure growing up. I wish I could go back in time, build up my confidence and ignore the critics.

7. What would be a "do-again"? - Marrying my fabulous husband, and the timing of our kids. At the time, it was an accident to have them so close together, & those first few years were very painful, but now it's perfect.

8. Most expensive piece of clothing you ever bought? (Includes wedding wear) - Minus jewelry, a pair of very expensive Louboutin heels. I wore them a few times for work meetings in New York at Fashion Week, where they were pretty much right in style. I subsequently broke my foot (not wearing those shoes) & sold them on eBay last year. I made about 85% of my money back, as they are no longer available. They were the classic kind, & looked similar to this:

9. What do you collect? - I honestly can't think of anything. I like my house & closet neat & organized. I do, however, have way more lipgloss than I can ever possibly go through. I *love* it, and I'm a little obsessed.

10. The last thing that you baked as a treat? - Last time I baked was last week, & I made cranberry muffins, and two kinds of granola bars.

11. Would you be able to handle 6 months without any income for your family? - Both of us losing our jobs over the same period of time would be extremely unusual, but that's not to say it absolutely couldn't happen. Yes, we could, but it would be very unpleasant.  
Here are my 11 questions:
  1. What song are you singing/enjoying
  2. Current favorite lunch
  3. Biggest financial regret
  4. Smartest financial decision
  5. When/where was the last time you went out to eat
  6. What's your favorite thing about spring
  7. Are you a workout person? Favorite type of exercise
  8. Name 5 things on your bucket list that you've yet to do
  9. Are you comfortable with your retirement planning? Why/why not?
  10. When do you expect to purchase a new (to you) car? What kind?
  11. Rank these people in order of spending a day with them, from (based on what you know right now, you'd find) most to least enjoyable:
    • Tiger Woods
    • Lindsay Lohan
    • Britney Spears
    • Gwyneth Paltrow
    • Kate Middleton
    • Justin Bieber
    • Jennifer Aniston
    • Kim Kardashian 
    • Prince Harry
    • Ryan Gosling
I'm going to nominate:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Cleaning & March goals

I was so inspired to declutter our house this weekend! We made a ton of progress on our decluttering, & it felt SO good. Here's what we accomplished:

  1. Cleaned one kitchen cupboard that's above the microwave & hard to access. Donated all contents (minus one lonely tupperware that was in the wrong spot) & turned that into a storage spot for my bread maker.
  2. Cleaned two drawers in the cupboard that we rarely use. Donated about 75% of the contents, reorganized remaining items so they are easier to find.
  3. Went through the boys toys (this is an ongoing project - always :-)) & donated four grocery bags full of toys + 5 complete Lego sets.
  4. Went through my closet, (this is also a work in progress) and donated 5 items and listed 10 more items on eBay.
Yeah for progress!

And, with one week left in March, I wanted to do a quick goal check. I've been ticking off these tasks daily, which has really helped.
  1.   Lose  2 lbs, bringing my weight to 143. - I'm at 144! I've finally made progress. Can't wait to see 143. :-)
  2. Track my food every day in My Fitness Pal - Yep!
  3. Average 1500 calories/day - I'm at 1574. I was down closer to 1525, but I've had some higher calorie days after long workouts this past week.
  4. Complete 1200 minutes of cardio workouts - I'm at 930, may not hit my stretch goal, but I'm getting in lots of exercise.
  5. Complete 10 strength workouts. - Yes, I've done 11 so far! My arms are definitely looking more toned.
  6. Complete 7 stretching workouts - I'm on track, at 6!
  7. Run consistently - on track, save for my one week where I was recovering from my half marathon & then got a cold.
  8. Run 80 miles this month. - I'm at 50 miles for the month. I don't see myself hitting 30 miles this week, but given my cold & recovering, I'm okay with this.
  9. Run 1 race - done!
  10. Achieve a personal record in my half marathon - yes!
  11. Find an April race - done! I'm running a 10K with M, & we're all registered.
  12. Find a race to run with my sister - done! We're doing a mud run in June. Should be fun. :-)
  13. Planned Mother's Day - done! We're combining this with my grandmother's 80th birthday, and taking her to the beach.
  14. Coordinate Spring Break plans - done! My parents are taking the kids for three days, they are going to camp for a day, & I'm staying home with them one day.
  15. Buy one tuition credit for each child - Done! I actually was able to buy two for each kid, with their birthday money and additional money we added. We kept their gifts very small this year (new bike helmets + a game) so we could instead use the money allocated towards their college accounts. They got plenty of other fun stuff. :-)
  16. Pay $5,000 additional principal on mortgage - No, this is likely on hold until we finish paying off our taxes, and we paid for some large home repairs. I still need to calculate how much we've paid so far.
  17. Have one date night/month with M - Yes! Our first real date night in five months, right after my half marathon. We celebrated & it was fabulous.
  18. Get together with two friends/month - Yes! Lots of fun get togethers this month.
  19. Track monthly spending, & create spending reports. - Yes, on track.
  20. Review our charitable contributions & increase by 10%.  - Yes, & I'm going to remove this goal, as it's now automated & it feels like cheating to give myself credit for this. :-)
  21. Clean out my closet. - I'm about 80% of the way through. I still have some dresses to try on & determine what to do with. That said, I've gotten rid of A TON! My closet almost entirely represents things that I wear regularly. :-)
  22. Clean out my dresser - yep, done!
  23. Make croissants - I switched this to try French bread, & made it this weekend. It was awesome.
  24. Set up meeting with attorney for wills. No, but I need to make this a top priority this week.  
  25. Generate $400 in side hustle! Yes, I'm over my $1000 goal & now I'm shooting for $1500.
  26. Book flights for girls trip - I'm 2/3 of the way there. Still need to coordinate with my sister (hopefully today), on her flights.
  27. Buy & mail secret sister gift. - Yes! Done.
  28. Read 3 books - Nope, haven't read anything this month. :-(
  29. Experiment with stress management techniques - well, the increased workouts & yoga seems to be working!
I originally thought I had 31 goals (one for each day of the month), but noticed I made a mistake in my numbering, & now for the life of me can't figure out what the last goal was. C'est La Vie! :-)

How about you? How are you doing with your March goals? Are you into spring cleaning & decluttering?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Secret Sisters, Snowballs, and Goals!

I received such a lovely package from my secret sister yesterday! It had all kinds of my favorite things - three packages of tea, two pots of honey, tea filters, chocolates, & a fabulous new nail polish that I can't wait to try. But, it also came with a letter from my secret sister. That kind of mail is so rare these days - it completely made my day.

I am very excited to have a little "me" time this weekend, brew up a pot of tea, read a book, and paint my nails. Can't. Wait.

Many, many thanks to my secret sister - Cassie, at Tales from the Trenches! Your kindness put such a smile on my face.

And, I've officially accomplished my 2013 snowball goal of $1,000! I bought one of the two plane tickets for our girls trip, & I'm going to keep working on my snowball to ensure that I have enough money for the big trip! Any leftover money will go into our Hawaii family vacation savings fund.

I made the majority of the money selling things on eBay, as you can see from my results so far:
  • $13 at Half Price Books
  • $30 selling two old DVD players on Craigslist
  • $8.95 on a rebate check
  • $10.15 selling books on Amazon
  • $12 refund for a gift I purchased using a gift card (my Mom paid me)
  • $80 birthday money
  • $6.30 - Ebates check
  • $30 survey check
  • $892.89 selling things on eBay (this is net profit - I've already deducted eBay fees, postage costs, etc).
Grand total = $1083.29!

I love the win/win of decluttering my house & closet, and making money in the process. I keep finding new things to sell, so I'm raising my goal to $1500. Fingers crossed!

I tried Zumba for the first time last night (what a hoot!) & had dinner & wine with a girlfriend afterward. Today I did a quick 6 mile run, and I'm making pizza dough, going to try to make French bread, we have kids birthday parties, our first sleepover, & lots of other errands to run.

What are you up to this weekend? How are you doing with your snowball? How are you making money this year outside of your normal household budget?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

I desperately need to get organized this week. The last few weeks have been very chaotic, and I don't feel very on top of our spending or meal planning. Back to basics!

Here's what we're eating this week:

  • Monday - Leftover spaghetti & meatballs
  • Tuesday - Chicken salad for the adults. Chicken + pasta for the kiddos.
  • Wednesday - M is out of town, so it's probably going to be the ever popular breakfast for dinner. :-)
  • Thursday - Uninspired at the moment, but I'm thinking of a pasta/sausage dish from the freezer.
  • Friday - Salmon + rice (fish sticks for the kids)
  • Saturday - Having our first "friend" sleepover, so we'll do something kid friendly, like pizza or tacos. 
  • Sunday - Risotto of some sort.
What about you? What's on your menu this week? Is it starting to feel like spring in your area? I *love* spring! Love the renewed energy, additional fruit & vegetable choices, thinking about a garden - love it!

One of my favorite pictures from Nick's 6th birthday this weekend. I feel so lucky that he has three cousins so close in age. They are all wonderful boys, and have SO much fun together at all of the family events & holidays. The birthday boy is the cutie pie in the white shirt. :-)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spending too much

I've not been as restrained with my daily spending lately, and it feels like money is slipping through my hands day by day. This is my "confession". :-)

We've been eating out a lot. I typically don't meet friends for lunches due to my work schedule, but things have been lighter the last few weeks, as I'm not running as much (kicking off a new training plan next week, but I'm in my easy week). As a result, I've met friends for lunch twice, gone out to lunch with M once, had a date night with M, met friends for a glass of wine once, and picked up food after my race on Saturday. We also ate out twice a few weeks ago for dinner as a family after exceptionally late work days.

Our dining out budget for March was $100, and we're already at $250. To put that in perspective, we spent $65 in January, & $200 in February (which included two birthdays & Valentine's Day).

Time to clamp down on the eating out & social spending.

I also got a pedicure, but that was my (planned) reward for finishing my half marathon.

I need to get back to my regularly weekly updates, as well. In positive news, I mailed my Secret Sister Swap gift off, so I'm feeling good about taking care of that. :-)

Getting super excited to celebrate this guy's 6th birthday this weekend. He continues to be the surprise of my life. Me + Nick at his 5th birthday last year. :-)

How's your spending going? Any fun weekend plans that you're looking forward to?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Making progress on my March goals!

I'm feeling great about my March progress!

I ran in my third half marathon on Saturday, & shaved three minutes off of my previous best time. Now, it was a completely flat course & my previous races were hilly, but I'm still considering it a win! I'm very "focused". :-)

Here are my March goals, along with my progress so far! Red means I'm behind my target, yellow means I'm tracking on target, & green means I've achieved my monthly goal. How are you doing with your March goals?

1) Lose 2 pounds, bringing my weight to 143. - I'm holding steady right now, but hoping to see a dip in the next week. I always retain water after races.
2) Track my food/exercise every day in MFP - Yep!
3) Average 1500 calories/day for the month - I'm high after my eating over the weekend. Need to work to bring this down over the next couple of weeks.
4) Complete 1,200 minutes of cardio - On track, at 455.
5) Complete 10 strength workouts - On track, with 5.
6)Complete 7 stretching workouts - On track, with 3.
8) Run consistently - On track!
9) Run 5 miles without stopping - Done, in my race this weekend! Woohoo!
10) Run 20 miles+ per week, 80/month - Kind of. Some weeks are higher, some are lower due to my training plan.
11) Run 1 race - Done!
12) Achieve a PR in my half marathon - Done!
13) Find an April race - Done! I'm running a 10K with M. :-)
14) Find a race with Kiki - I think we've found one, but need to register.
15) Plan Mother's Day - this is planned, but need to find a day.
16) Coordinate spring break plans - Done!
17) Buy one tuition credit for each child - Done! Hit send on the bill pay today. :-)
18) Pay $5,000 of principal on mortgages - Not on track. Had to pay close to $3K for home repairs.
19) Have one date night per month with M - Yes! The long overdue return, after 5 months. It was fabulous. :-)
20) Get together with 2 friends/month - Yes!
21) Track spending, stick to budget, monthly reports - On track.
22) Review our charitable contributions & increase giving by 10% - This is automated, so kind of a cheat. I should really remove this, since we're doing it automatically.
23) Clean out my closet  - Kind of. I've inventoried everything, and made huge piles for my eBay sales.
24) Clean out my dresser - Nope.
25) Make croissants - Maybe this weekend. Yum!
26) Set up meeting with attorney - Nope. M's schedule has been very up & down.
27) Generate $400 in "side hustle" - On track!
28) Book flights for girls trip - Nope. Was hoping for a better deal, but may just have to bite the bullet.
29) Buy & mail secret sister gift! - I'm waiting for Amazon to deliver the other half of my order!
30) Read 3 books - Haven't even started.
31) Experiment with new methods of stress management - deep breathing - I'm working on more stretching.

How are you doing with your March goals?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Healthy snack ideas and progress in March

We're trying to cut back on buying processed snack foods. When I have free time on weekends, this is an awesome plan, & I spend time making muffins & granola & other healthy-ish treats. Mostly the snacks are for my oldest (S - his name is Sam & I'm just going to start using names, because the initials are driving me crazy :)). Sam is skinny & super active & has an insane appetite. I also tend to eat smaller meals, but add more snacks to stabilize my appetite when I have big running weeks.

I love the protein bar type things, but they are crazy expensive. We also eat a lot of nuts, homemade trail mix, & that kind of thing.

Do you have other suggestions for healthy snacks? Sam could eat more fattening stuff, but I prefer to keep my calories in the 100-150 range.

Current ideas:
  • Cheese
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Trail mix
  • Dry cereal (shredded wheat, etc)
  • Homemade protein balls (need a good recipe)
  • Homemade granola (again, need a lower sugar recipe)
  • Homemade granola bars (again with the lower sugar)
  • Muffins & breads
We (especially the kids) eat plenty of fruits & vegetables, so I'm not worried about the snacks not being of the fruit & veggie variety.

Do you have other ideas or recipes to share? Bonus points for quick, easy & frugal! :-)

I'm also actively looking to tackle one March goal today and tomorrow, in addition to staying on top of the regular ones. I've completed 4 strength & 2 stretching workouts already! I've found a race for April, ordered my secret sister gifts, & I'm working on planning: Mother's Day (my mom's part of it), a race to run with my sister, and spring break. I'll feel so good when these are done!

How are you doing with your March goals?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Menu Plan Monday & February Fitness Challenge Winners

First up, thanks so much for everyone who participated in the February Fitness Challenge! Hopefully this will inspire you to continually set fitness goals for yourself, just like your financial goals.

Here are the winners of the $25 pay pal prizes! Just email me with where you want it sent, & I will get it to you (thehawaiiplan @ gmail . com) ->with no spaces, just to minimize spamming. :-) Kim and Jennifer ! Congratulations, ladies. :-)

I think this is the first week this year that M's not traveling, so I actually have to come up with a full meal plan!

  • Monday - Grilled chicken, rice, & roasted brussels sprouts
  • Tuesday - Chicken pesto pasta
  • Wednesday - Tacos (the kids FAVORITE meal. The adults are a little tired of it, so I may make us something else)
  • Thursday - focaccia bread paninis (made my own bread, & it's a winner!)
  • Friday - Leftovers
  • Saturday - Date night! We haven't been on a date together since October, so I'm pretty excited. :-)
  • Sunday  - Sausage and spinach risotto
What's on your menu this week? Any great new recipes to recommend?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

February Final Budget Numbers

I love Saturdays! So much extra time to get stuff done. :-) Although, I haven't been terribly productive today. It's been a (relatively) relaxing day. M had to drive to our vacation house to finalize the replacement door/roof work. I managed to run just under 7 miles, & I did arms (strength training). I also started on yoga (just for you, & your fabulous encouragement, Jennifer!). The boys distracted me, so I'll have to finish the DVD after they're in bed. :-)

I've finished crunching the February numbers, & it was a very unusual month! We received a large refund on our refinaces, which went straight to rebuilding our emergency fund. Yeah!

Income - just over $14,000
Spent (net) - $6029

Yep, an odd month for sure. Here are how the expenses broke out:

  • Groceries. Budget was $500, spent $641. We had house guests for a weekend & a small gathering for S's 7th birthday, which threw us over.
  • Dining out. Budget was $100, spent $204. I'm not sure where I came up with that unrealistic goal number, because it was: my birthday, Valentine's Day, & S's birthday.
  • Kids lessons. Budget was $0, spent $0. Still using gift cards to pay for karate.
  • Gas - Budget was $275, spent $351. I forgot to adjust our gas budget to reflect for skiing. We take our older, gas guzzler when we ski.
  • Vacation house utilities - Budget was $200, spent $0. The timing of the billing cycles mean that we paid more in January & will again in March. Also, we cut our cable altogether, so that bill is now eliminated.
  • Primary residence utilities - Budget was $275, spent $351. This was due to a whopper of a power bill. Need to turn the heat down by at least one to two degrees.
  • Boys clothes - Budget was $25, spent $80. S has grown out of his pants, so we stocked up & bought two winter jackets for next year, at $12/each. Score!
  • My clothes - Budget was $100, spent $0. I do need to replace my running shoes, get reflectors, & new running tights. But, I decided to wait until March.
  • Gifts - Budget for all of our February events was $100, spent $-12. but we opted to forgo gifts for Valentine's Day & do a lunch out instead. Our dining out budget was higher as a result. Also, we purchased most of S's birthday gifts in December, and the -$12 was a reimbursement for a gift that I picked up for my mom.
  • Travel - Budget was $0, spent $0.
  • Childcare - budget was $1070, spent $270. This was due to my dependent care flexible spending account payment, which offset the rest of the spend.
  • Personal - budget was $70, spent $0. Nobody got a hair cut or anything! we do have some shaggy boys around here. :-) This month, for sure!
  • Health - budget was $100, spent $1. I assumed I would register for my next race, but still pinning down a date. The $1 was for a parking fee on one of my long runs.
  • House - budget was $100, spent $1690. The majority of this was for 1/2 of the cost of our new door & roof repairs on our vacation house. The rest was stocking up on household items when we were in Oregon last weekend - tax free.
  • Car - budget was $100, spent $148. We had to renew our tabs on our other car this month. It never stops!
  • Boys - budget was $25, spent $46. We splurged last weekend when we were on vacation, but need to do a better job on this one.
  • Liquor - budget was $0, spent $50. We were actually out of wine (gasp!) & had to stock up for the party we threw for S's birthday.
  • Main mortgage - budget was $4611, spent $2800. This was a result of payment dates varying due to the refinance.
  • Boys college fund - budget was $0, spent $0. I was hoping to divert some extra money to this, but wanted to wait to see how the house repairs would come out.
  • Insurance - budget was $316, spent $316. Right on track.
  • Cleaning - Budget was $500, spent $380. We're finally cutting back!
  • Vacation house mortgage - budget was $2280, spent $2250. The refinance came in a little lower than expected.
  • Boys birthday - budget was $175, spent $190. This is awesome, considering that we had to scrap our ski plans the day of the party & come up with a new idea.
  • Refinance - budget was $0, received -$3888 back from our closing costs.

Now that the refinance is over, things our settling down. Our youngest turns 6 in March, so we'll have additional birthday party expenses.

How did you do with your February numbers? Are you enjoying your Saturday?

And, one of my favorite pictures - N & S on N's 5th birthday.

Friday, March 1, 2013

February Goal Wrap Up & March Goals

This month was exhausting. Happy to focus on March now. :-) You can read about my original February goals here.

  1. Lose 2 pounds, bringing my weight to 143. - I'm ending the month exactly where I ended it. Given how much I worked out. . . . wow!
  2. Track my calories in MyFitnessPal every day, & stay within my calorie allotment 90% of the time. In February, that boils down to 25 days. It's my birthday month, so trying to be realistic. - I tracked my calories every day, & was on track 79% of the time. Mixed results.
  3. Get 1,000 minutes of cardio. - Yes! A definite win, with 1267 - more than January!
  4. Complete 10 strength workouts. - 6 strength workouts in February.
  5. Complete 7 stretching workouts. - NO. 2 stretching workouts.
  6. Bonus goal - attend a Pilates or Barre workout class. I have a Groupon for a local studio, but have never made it given M's travel schedule & the kids. I'd love to make this a priority. - No, abandoned this goal.
  7. Run 20 miles/week, 80 miles in February. - 60 miles for February.
  8. Buy one college tuition credit for each child. - No. We had unexpected home repairs.
  9. Have one date night (or lunch) with M. - Yes, two lunch dates! 
  10. Get together with two friends. - Yes! Several get togethers with friends.
  11. Track spending, stick to budget, create monthly spending reports. - This is an old hat now! :-)
  12. Increase charitable contributions by 10% (Year Over Year) - Yes!
  13. Clean out my closet & dresser. - I'm about 1/2 way through my closet.
  14. To increase my baking skills (and reduce our grocery budget), try English Muffin bread (again!) & bagel making. Bonus would be tortillas. :-) - I tried both English Muffin bread & bagels.
  15. Set up meeting with attorney to go over wills & guardianship. - No.
  16. Generate $400 in "side hustle". Mostly from Ebay, I think, but open to other methods of generating income. - Yep! I'm at $426!

It looks like, out of 16, I had 7 wins, 4 partial wins, & 5 fails. I'm going to try for even better results in March! I didn't do a good job of reviewing my goals weekly, & I know that's a big motivator for myself.

Goals for March! I'm setting these up to be both goals I can work on all month, as well as things that I can tick off at once. I need some easy wins this month. :-) There are 31 days in March, so I have 31 goals. I'm feeling like some big challenges! :-)

1) Lose 2 pounds, bringing my weight to 143. 
2) Track my food/exercise every day in MFP
3) Average 1500 calories/day for the month
4) Complete 1,200 minutes of cardio
5) Complete 10 strength workouts
6)Complete  7 stretching workouts
8) Run consistently
9) Run 5 miles without stopping
10) Run 20 miles+ per week, 80/month
11) Run 1 race
12) Achieve a PR in my half marathon
13) Find an April race
14) Find a race with Kiki
15) Plan Mother's Day
16) Coordinate spring break plans
17) Buy one tuition credit for each child
18) Pay $5,000 of principal on mortgages
19) Have one date night per month with M
20) Get together with 2 friends/month
21) Track spending, stick to budget, monthly reports
22) Review our charitable contributions & increase giving by 10%
23) Clean out my closet 
24) Clean out my dresser
25) Make croissants
26) Set up meeting with attorney
27) Generate $400 in "side hustle"
28) Book flights for girls trip
29) Buy & mail secret sister gift!
30) Read 3 books
31) Experiment with new methods of stress management - deep breathing

And with that, how did you do with your February goals? What are you hoping to accomplish in March?

February Fitness Challenge - Post your final results!

I cannot believe the month is over! I've been working crazy hours, M's been traveling, & N got the stomach flu. What a wild end to the shortest month.

February is officially over, & I'll be randomly selecting the two winners of the February Fitness Challenge on Sunday (March 3rd) evening, so you have until then to link your results in the comments. I'll take all of the comments/entries from the previous check ins as well.

My original February Fitness Challenge goals:
  1. Track my calories in MyFitnessPal every day, & stay within my calorie allotment 90% of the time. In February, that boils down to 25 days. It's my birthday month, so trying to be realistic. - I tracked my calories EVERY day. Including the not so good days. I'm using the learnings to figure out why I'm not losing weight. Basically, I have 2-3 days/month where I am very stressed & eat almost 1000 calories more than my goal. That offsets all of my progress for the week. It's amazing to have the knowledge & see it in concrete details. A few days of stress eating completely derails all of my hard work. Wow. Time to come up with alternative stress management techniques. I was on track 79% of the time, so well below my goal of 90%
  2. Get 1,000 minutes of cardio. - I finished 1267 minutes, so I crushed this goal!
  3. Complete 10 strength workouts. - I completed 6 workouts. I know that lifting weights helps me with all of my fitness goals, but making time for it with my busy running calendar is very tricky.
  4. Complete 7 stretching workouts. - Major fail. I completed two. I'm starting to go to bed really early to try & wake up at 5:00 am, which means no pilates in the evening.
  5. Bonus goal - attend a Pilates or Barre workout class. I have a Groupon for a local studio, but have never made it given M's travel schedule & the kids. I'd love to make this a priority. - I'm moving this off of my priority list for the month. It's just not realistic right now for me. The Groupon will expire without me using it (*cringe*), but right now, I need to set realistic goals for myself & worry about what I can accomplish at home with the kids.

So there you have it. I successfully two goals, partially completed two others, & failed at my last goal.

I'm going to be back with all of my March goals - lots of fun things to think about, especially around not getting offtrack with my eating a few days a month & letting it unwind all of my hard work.

Please reply with links to your blog & comment on your progress!

Thanks & can't wait to email the lucky winners of the $25 paypal prizes.